“Light is a source of inspiration. And moving light inspires exponentially, ”says the design team at SHUT UP about their latest project, The Stream at Uber’s headquarters in San Francisco Mission Bay. Combining bespoke lighting and sound design, along with interactive content, The Stream translates the company’s mission into a dynamic “experience” designed to focus and motivate employees, guests and partners. HUSH is no stranger to this challenge, responding to similar requests from Facebook, Nike and IBM. This particular project has been so successful that HUSH will be installing more feeds at other Uber branches around the world.
Below, we take a closer look at the site-specific commission.
Project description: The Stream is an architectural-scale interactive experience designed to highlight Uber’s core mission of “opening up opportunities by putting the world in motion”.
The goal was to design a permanent experience at Uber’s Mission Bay campus in San Francisco to focus every employee, guest and partner on the impact of their efforts and align them with Uber’s organizational mission. This has never been more important than in a post-pandemic world where Uber employees will return to a new workplace after months of remote operation.
Project inspiration: Light is a source of inspiration. And moving light inspires exponentially. Movement is an essential part of the Uber brand value. Bringing these ideas together has allowed us to blend the art of metaphor with the uniqueness of brand storytelling in an experience design concept that defines the Uber brand from its inception.
Project plan: The shape of The Stream crosses the atrium from the lobby descending from the upper floors, through the ceiling and to a central point. The extreme scale of the lobby lends itself to extreme perspectives and strong focal points. Digital light units seem to emerge from above – the floors on which Uber employees engage in their innovative work – and seem to carry that innovation down. Each light unit seems to contain a story of innovation and impact, set in dynamic movement. As light descends through The Stream’s physical form, it merges with other lighting effects, increases in density, speed, resolution, and ultimately resolves into fully materialized, high-resolution impact stories. . Guests interact with these stories as they move under The Stream, separating the “digital stream” from the light to reveal the stories within.
Experience has many patterns of behavior. Each mode, whether tailored for coworkers, special guests, or specific messages, helps Uber express its brand story as well as highlight its most important relationships with customers and drivers.
Project challenges: The project spanned more than three years from initial experience strategy to design to final delivery, and was completed at the height of the pandemic.
Key points from the project: Bringing Uber’s Entrance to life, The Stream uses lighting, sound and interactive content to help convey the story of the Uber brand and the collective impact of enabling opportunities by highlighting moving world. Using a range of visual and sound design elements, from local driver stories to global data, Uber’s Mission Bay lobby bridges the gap between the day-to-day work of employees and Uber’s higher goal of delivering benefits through transport.
By imagining our concept, it became clear that no standard digital lighting would suffice. We designed lighting parts specifically to optimize the look and feel of the experience and create a unique parts kit in the bold shape of The Stream. Using these elements as units of a cohesive design system, we were able to vary the shape, density and scale of The Stream to merge it with the architectural volume of the lobby itself.
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